IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

150+ Black-owned businesses to support in 2023 and beyond

We spoke to more than a dozen business owners about the realities they face — and highlighted notable products and brands we think you should know about.
Here are some Black-owned brands to check out across shopping categories, from fashion and beauty to food and fitness.
Here are some Black-owned brands to check out across shopping categories, from fashion and beauty to food and fitness.The Sip; Alodia Hair Care; NBC Illustration

Black-owned businesses have seen major growth to well above pre-pandemic numbers in the past year but still face a slew of disparate challenges, including an immense pressure to be perfect at all times, says Whitney White, co-founder of Melanin Haircare. "We are always held to the highest standards of perfection because of the stigma of our race — if we have any margin of error, it’s our Blackness that is to blame."

Over the past few years, we’ve interviewed dozens of Black entrepreneurs to learn about the successes and challenges they face as business owners. Almost all of them echo White’s statement: Running a company is not easy for anyone. But recent supply chain issues, labor shortages and inflation, for example, compound obstacles Black business owners have encountered for decades, including a lack of access to capital and higher rates of financial distress compared to white-owned businesses.

We are always held to the highest standards of perfection because of the stigma of our race.

Whitney White, co-founder, Melanin Haircare

Through this collective struggle, however, Black business owners are finding new support systems and working to establish community networks so more Black Americans feel empowered to become entrepreneurs. Erica Davis, co-founder of luxury wine subscription service The Sip, told us Black- and minority-owned certification programs have served as great opportunities to build a network of Black entrepreneurs, for instance, while Partake Foods founder and CEO Denise Woodard told us that retail partners — including Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator and Target’s Forward Founders program, for which she serves as a mentor — have played a major role in getting her business off the ground.

SKIP AHEAD Black-owned businesses continue to face unique challenges | Growth and ongoing support for Black-owned businesses \ More Black-owned brands to consider

To be considered a Black-owned business, a company must be at least 51% Black-owned, according to the Census Bureau — which is similar to its ownership definition of Latino-, AAPI- and women-owned businesses. Ownership changes over time, so some previously Black-owned businesses no longer qualify: Briogeo, for example, was acquired by Wella in 2022; similarly, Carol's Daughter was acquired by L'Oreal and SheaMoisture was acquired by Unilever.

We connected with over 300 Black-owned businesses to recommend products and brands we think are worth considering while shopping across categories like beauty, clothing, food, home goods and more.

17 notable products from Black-owned businesses in 2023

From more than 200 businesses, we narrowed down notable products from 17 brands we think Select readers should know more about, and we also included a list of more than 100 businesses. All the businesses featured here confirmed at least 51% Black ownership.

Absolutely Everything Curly Ultimate Guide: Co-Washes

Owner Gaby L. Longsworth founded Absolutely Everything Curly with the desire to educate people about textured hair, hair products and ingredients. The company offers a handful of downloadable haircare guides via its website, including guides on hair products for curly-haired kids and babies, hair oils and butters and frizz fighters.

Absolutely Everything Curly’s guide to co-washes highlights the fundamentals of conditioner-only washing, its benefits and discusses different types of products you can use depending on your hair type. It also provides information about ingredients co-washes contain and more.

Alodia Haircare Nourish & Grow Healthy Hair and Scalp Oil

Alodia offers hair care products made with non-toxic, organic and natural ingredients, according to founder Isfahan Chambers-Harris. She noted her goal is to educate and empower women about how to take care of their hair: "Alodia was birthed out of my personal experiences with unnatural, toxic hair care products," Chambers-Harris said, who added she understands "first-hand the misinformation that exists around textured hair."

This moisturizing oil nourishes the scalp, helps prevent hair breakage and promotes hair growth, according to the brand. The oil contains ingredients like avocado oil and rosemary, and you can use it as a pre-shampoo treatment, hot oil treatment while deep conditioning or over any hair styler.

Barkal Noir shoes

Habab El Rufaie, founder and creative director of Barkal, said the brand offers "a gender-neutral footwear collection that is derived from traditional Sudanese men's shoes." To get materials for what El Rufaie called "culturally treasured" footwear, she said Barkal works with suppliers in Italy.

Available in a variety of colors like Tangerine, Olive andTaupe, shoes in Barkal’s Core Collection are made from nappa leather and come in narrow or wide. The brand also has a Canvas Collection available.

Be Rooted: Guard Your Spirit Journal

Be Rooted was founded “to create a safe space for women of color to feel seen and heard in their everyday life,” said CEO and founder Jasmin Foster. The brand was recognized in the Time 100 Most Influential Companies of 2022, and was the first Black-owned stationery brand to line Target store shelves in 2021. “It is not lost upon me that my ancestors fought for their freedom so that I could live out my wildest dreams,” Foster said. “I feel immense pride in being able to build my wildest dreams while also building bridges for the next generation.”

This spiral-bound journal contains 240 ruled 5.5 inch x 8.5 inch pages and its cover that reads “guard your spirit.”

Eve Milan New York Brightening Vitamin C Toner

Eden Gilliam, an esthetician and founder of Eve Milan New York, was inspired to start her businesses to leave a legacy for her daughter. Since then, Gilliam said the resources, information and emotional support available to Black business owners have greatly increased, and she’s had the opportunity to learn and grow from entrepreneurs who came before her.

Eve Milan New York offers a range of skin care, from cleansers to serums. Its Brightening Vitamin C Toner is designed to reduce dark spots and promote a more even complexion, according to the brand. It contains brightening antioxidant camu camu and daisy extracts, as well as purslane, which boosts collagen synthesis, vitamin C, vitamin E and glutathione.

Flora & Noor Oatmeal and Shea Body Butter

Jordan Karim, founder and CEO of Flora & Noor, got the idea for her company working as a pharmaceutical skin care consultant — none of the formulas she saw on the market fit what she was looking for, so she created her own. "I saw a gap in the beauty industry for halal-certified skin care and clean products that target the skin concerns of those with melanin-rich skin...," she said.

"Everyone, not just Muslims, deserve alcohol-free and animal by-product-free skin care," she said. Our world is so diverse, and I believe our skin care should reflect that."

This body butter contains moisturizing shea butter and nourishing colloidal oatmeal. It removes dead skin, cleans pores, moisturizes and can help relieve dry, itchy and irritated skin, according to the brand.

Frères Branchiaux: This Woman's Work Candle

In 2017, when Ryan, Collin and Austin Gill asked for more allowance to buy video games, their parents, said either “get a job or start a business.” The brothers, just kids at the time, did the latter. Their family-founded, Black-owned candle business, Frères Branchiaux, is sold at Target and Sur La Table. The “This Woman’s Work” candle, like all their candles, is formulated with a vegan soy wax blend poured into an amber glass jar and has fruity, floral and earthy scent notes, according to the brand.

“Being a Black business brings us so much pride,” the Gill family told us. “Not only are we showing other Black kids and families that they can start with an idea and keep pushing it to success, but we are also an inspiration to anyone who has a dream.”

GOODEE Hammam Towel

While working in the fashion industry, Byron Peart, co-founder of GOODEE with Dexter Peart, saw "so many extremely skilled and underrepresented ethical makers around the world who desperately needed a platform...." Switching gears from fashion to homeware, the co-founders established GOODEE to help fill that need. The retailer sells a variety of brands and items like furniture, kitchen and dining products, and decor.

GOODEE also offers its own line of products. Its Hammam Towel is handwoven with linen and GOTS-certified organic cotton and is machine-washable, according to the brand, and has a loop to hang it up. It's available in Black & White, Green & Black, Multi Orange and Multi Purple.

Me + The Bees: Prickly Pear Lemonade

Mikaila Ulmer, founder and CEO of Me & The Bees, was terrified of bees when she was little. After her parents encouraged her to do some research, she learned how important bees are to our ecosystem, and decided to help them. “Around that same time, I also received my Great Granny Helen’s 1940s flaxseed lemonade recipe, so I was inspired to set up a lemonade stand selling honey-sweetened flaxseed lemonade," she said.

Her simple lemonade stand has since become a full-blown business. Now, Me & The Bees lemonade can be found in major retailers like Target, Publix, H-E-B and Whole Foods Market. Highlighted is the classic lemonade flavor, which uses the signature honey and flaxseed recipe.

“Being the CEO of Me & The Bees means inspiring and being a role model for Black girls throughout the country,” Ulmer said. “Representation matters, and I always remind others to dream like a kid when it comes to becoming an entrepreneur and making a difference.”

Melanin Haircare African Black Soap Reviving Shampoo

Years of recommending DIY hair care recipes and styling tips led Whitney White to start Melanin Haircare: "Hair care as a consumer product is a need, not a ‘nice to have,’" she said. White said the business has seen success despite challenges like price hikes for raw materials and shipping delays due to supply-chain shortages.

Formulated with cocoa and shea butter, argan and vitamin B5, Melanin says this clarifying shampoo conditions and promotes hair's elasticity and flexibility. Other ingredients like tea tree, black cumin seed, rosemary and peppermint oils have anti-inflammatory properties, according to the brand. And the charcoal powder in the shampoo helps detoxify the scalp and gently exfoliate.

Partake Classic Pancake & Waffle Mix

Frustrated by the lack of allergy-friendly snack for kids like her daughter, Denise Woodard created her own brand, Partake Foods. To fund the company of which she's now CEO, Woodward started selling cookies out of her car and sold her engagement ring. Today, you can find Partake's snacks online and nationwide in stores like Target, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

Partake offers cookies (it's first launch in 2016) in flavors including Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate, Lemon and Ginger Snap in crunchy and soft-baked options, as well as Classic and Confetti pancake and waffle mixes. All are top nine allergen-free, gluten-free and vegan. Partake also sells baking mixes for pizza crust, blondies and more.

Pierre Performance Never Thirsty Moisturizer

Working in the beauty industry, Jamal Pierre saw "a major gap in skin care that truly addresses men’s needs," and it motivated him to start Pierre Performance. Pierre said he’s proud of being a Black business owner and wants to be successful not just for himself, but also to "provide an example and representation for other Black people watching me."

Never Thirsty Moisturizer is formulated with glycolic acid to combat hyperpigmentation, dullness and signs of aging, as well as hydrating jojoba oil and apricot kernel oil to soften skin, according to the brand.

Renowned Midnight Madness Tee

John Wesley Dean III, the creative director and founder of Renowned, said he started the clothing brand as a form of expression. He also feels the lack of diversity in the corporate world needs to be addressed to help more Black businesses achieve success in the U.S. "This is a forever fight for equality," Dean said.

The Midnight Madness graphic tee is made from heavyweight ringspun cotton, has a vintage neckline and comes in sizes ranging from small to XXL.

The Sip The Celebration Box

When Erica Davis co-founded luxury wine subscription service The Sip with her best friend Catherine Carter, they aimed to push back against wine industry norms around what women and women of color were "supposed" to drink. "There’s an expectation that we like it sweet and pink," Davis said. "While that may be true for some of us, it's not true for all." The Sip also aims to make "the entire Champagne and sparkling wine experience more approachable," especially when trying new brands, she said.

The Sip's curated drink boxes, which are available via membership or sale, are a great way to try new wines. Its Celebration Box comes with two bottles of sparkling wine and a sip shooter.

TinkyPoo Power Diapers

Nadiyah Spencer founded TinkyPoo in 2020 with the goal of creating a diaper company that "stands up to all the giants in the industry" while representing babies of color. "As a Black woman creating a diaper brand that celebrates our babies, I am living a dream that has now materialized," Spencer said. "It shows my son and anyone watching that anything we put our minds to, we can achieve."

TinkyPoo’s unisex diapers — available in a handful of colorful prints — are made with plant-based materials, sustainably harvested wood pulp and have an organic cotton inner-lining, according to the brand. They’re built with side wings, an elastic waistband and a double leakage barrier that provides up to 12 hours of protection, TinkyPoo said. Diapers are sold in various quantities and come in four sizes ranging from newborn to large.

UnSun Cosmetics EVERYDAY Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen

After a trip to the dermatologist revealed that the moles on Katonya Breaux's face were the result of sun damage, she set off on a quest to find new sunscreen. What she found was that chemical sunscreens were irritating to her and mineral-based options were often thick, white and pasty. "I had no success with finding tinted mineral sunscreens with shade options matching my skin tone," Breaux said. "So I created a sunscreen that suits people with darker complexions," UnSun Cosmetics. The business also allowed Breaux to start a conversation with her customers "about the importance of sun protection for melanated skin," she said.

The brand’s EVERYDAY Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen is available in Light to Medium and Medium to Dark and SPF 30 protection. It is smooth and silky when applied to skin, and won’t leave behind a white residue, according to the brand.

Zach & Zoe Sweet Bee Farm Creamed Wildflower Honey

Honey business Zach & Zoe Sweet Bee Farm has been popular with people looking for natural remedies to cure ailments and alleviate inflammation, according to owners Kam and Summer Johnson. The company’s ingredients and materials are made in the U.S., so the business was not impacted by global supply chain issues that began during the pandemic, say the Johnsons.

According to the brand, Zach & Zoe’s Creamed Wildflower Honey contains a blend of wildflowers gathered at different times of the year, so each harvest yields a different flavor. The brand also offers honey in flavors like Lavender, Lemon, Matcha and Creamed Coffee, as well as wildflower bee pollen and beeswax candles.

Black-owned businesses: Wellness, beauty, apparel and more

We reached out to over 200 businesses nationwide to compile interesting Black-owned companies in beauty, apparel, wellness and more. Check out the articles below for guides to Black-owned clothing and accessories, food and beverage and beauty brands.

More Black-owned brands to consider

In addition to the guides above, we also bulleted a variety of standout Black-owned businesses below across additional categories.

Black-owned home and kitchen brands

Black-owned wellness and fitness brands

Black-owned bookstores and educational brands

Black-owned businesses feel the after-effects of the pandemic

Black Americans, and especially Black women in the U.S., were disproportionately laid off or left their jobs during the pandemic — and some of them started their own businesses as a result. According to the latest data from the Census Bureau, there are over 3 million Black-owned businesses in the U.S., with 140,918 of those being Black-owned employer firms.

Last year, Partake Foods’ Woodard told us that the pandemic derailed her plans to expand the company’s in-store availability. When we caught up with Woodard this year, she told us that pandemic-related issues are still top of mind: “Partake, like many companies, has felt the uncertainty of the macroeconomic situation — from supply chain challenges to inflation, as well as slow down in funding, we are navigating many of the headwinds."

To stay afloat during the height of the pandemic, Partake had to pivot to a digital marketing strategy, including expanding its social media presence, revamping the website and partnering with digital shopping vendors like Instacart. And Woodard was not alone: Many Black businesses in the past few years “started to thrive because they were either already online or they were able to adapt quickly to this new way of doing business," said Charles DeBow, executive director of the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC).

The challenge for many Black businesses is that they've operated in silos.

John Harmon, Founder and President, African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey

But for many brick and mortar businesses, lack of resources complicated the pivot. "The challenge for many Black businesses is that they've operated in silos — they may not be connected to chambers or business associations" that can provide the tools and funding to accommodate this shift, said John Harmon, founder and president of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey.

Access to capital and funding is a major challenge Black entrepreneurs have faced for years, and was only further exacerbated by the pandemic. "Black-owned employer businesses are three times more likely than their white counterparts to report that the lack of access to capital had a negative impact on their profitability," said Marlene Orozco, a PhD candidate in sociology at Stanford University who researches minority-owned businesses.

Indeed, reports from the Coalition to Back Black Businesses (CBBB) and the House Small Business Committee both cited barriers to accessing capital as issues facing Black business owners, and many Black business owners don’t apply for funding for fear of being rejected: 38% of Black employer firms — that is, Black-owned businesses with at least one paid employee other than the owner — felt "discouraged" from applying, as opposed to just 12.7% of white employer firms. And according to the House Small Business Committee report, large banks approve roughly 29% of loan applications from Black-owned small businesses compared to 60% from white-owned businesses, and Black business owners often have to take loans with higher interest rates.

Organizations like the U.S. Black Chambers and the Small Business Administration provide multiple resources, funds and programs to help Black entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground. Some brands are even starting their own related initiatives. Partake's Woodard, for example, paid forward her success with the launch of the Black Futures in Food & Beverage Fellowship Program, a seven-week virtual experience that gives HBCU students an opportunity to learn from leaders in the packaged goods and beverage industries through workshops, panels and more.

The Sip’s Davis noted that specific business certifications — including the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), ByBlack and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council certifications — can help Black entrepreneurs grow their brands and gain a network of other Black business owners and resources. After large corporations started taking the Fifteen Percent Pledge to dedicate a minimum portion of their shelves to Black-owned businesses, “they’re looking for businesses to be certified, and that's the one thing that every minority-owned business or woman-owned business needs to know about,” Davis told us.

Growth and ongoing support for Black-owned businesses

Despite the effects of the pandemic, Black business owners remain confident about the future: The CBBB report showed that 88% of business owners said they were "very optimistic" about their businesses going forward.

Activism during the pandemic in part fueled this optimism: George Floyd's murder and subsequent national attention to issues around discrimination and police brutality resulted in an uptick of support toward Black businesses, according to DeBow. Orozco noted corporations increased the allocation of financial resources to Black businesses, too, and stakeholders were increasing procurement and growth opportunities for Black entrepreneurs.

"Black businesses started to get included in the dialogue, and that's where major corporations started asking, ‘What can we do?’" DeBow added.

We get to a point where emotions are high and there's a sense of doing the right thing, but that begins to wane.

Larry Ivory, president, and CEO of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce

Kristian Edwards told us her online marketplace BLK+GRN — which offers more than 85 all-natural personal care brands from Black women-owned businesses — saw a significant increase site traffic and orders at the height of the Black Lives Matter social justice movement, “especially since BLK+GRN is at the intersection of the ‘green movement’ and the ‘buy black movement,’ she said. But that support also turned into one of Edwards’ biggest challenges — since BLK+GRN highlights Black-owned brands, it was popping up in people’s search. “But because I source my products through indie Black-owned brands that couldn't get access to bottles, raw ingredients or labels at the time, my small brands just couldn’t keep up,” Edwards said.

Once pandemic-related issues died down months later and Edwards’ brands could finally fulfill orders at a more sustainable pace, she told us the demand was nowhere near what it had been. “I often say that was a moment, it wasn't a movement. People really honed in on that moment and want to be there for it. But once that moment was gone, it all kind of died back down to normal levels [of interest],” Edwards said. In fact, the NBCC reported sales at many Black-owned businesses plummeted back to their pre-Covid rates soon after.

"We get to a point where emotions are high and there's a sense of doing the right thing, but that begins to wane," said Larry Ivory, president, and CEO of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce. "We have to keep the issue in front of people."

Catch up on Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance, tech and tools, wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date.